5 Best Wednesday Columns

Bret Stephens on BP and Gadhafi, Steven Pearlstein on Obama and big business, and more

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  • Bret Stephens on BP and Gadhafi The Wall Street Journal columnist points to a "better" reason to hate BP: the embattled oil company will move forward on an oil deal with Libya signed in 2007. While this isn't necessarily damning in itself, Stephens draws a connection to politics surrounding the release of the Lockerbie bomber. "BP inked its exploration deal with Libya following a second visit by Mr. Blair in 2007. But the deal nearly ran aground after the U.K. took its time finalizing a prisoner transfer agreement between the two countries," notes Stephens. "It was at this point that BP became concerned. As this newspaper reported last September, BP admits that in 2007 it 'told the U.K. government . . . it was concerned that a delay in concluding a prisoner transfer agrement with the Libyan government might hurt' the deal it had just signed."
  • Derrick Jackson on Global Warming and the Navy The Boston Globe columnist is struck by the U.S. chief of naval operations Gary Roughead's the emphasis on environmental issues. Writes Jackson: "When the Navy’s head of operations talks about the continental shelf as well as how much fish is being caught by whom and can see melting ice having a direct impact on geopolitical relations, that is all the more reason we need to understand that our vast waters have their environmental and political limits."
  • Steven Pearlstein on Obama and Big Business The Washington Post columnist laments the bad blood between President Obama and Wall Street after financial regulatory reform. With trust in government deteriorating across the country, it's no wonder that corporations find themselves in a politically volatile environment. At the same time, writes Pearlstein, big business should start being a team player and "demonstrate its good faith" to induce the White House to follow suit. "Snaring multibillion-dollar projects with a midnight meeting at the White House or a last-minute pitch from a won't-take-no-for-an-answer secretary of commerce -- a few wins like that would generate more votes and goodwill from the business community than those set-piece presidential factory visits peddling the latest version of "jobs, jobs, jobs." "
  • Robert Wright on Building One Big Brain "Is it bad news for humans if in some sense the 'point' of the evolutionary process is something bigger than us, something that subsumes us?" asks the New York Times columnist today. Considering the overbearing amount of technology in our everyday lives, Wright brings out the idea that humans are becoming cellular parts of one giant, technological "brain." He says, "the scattering of attention among lots of tasks is what allows us to add value to lots of social endeavors. The incoherence of the individual mind lends coherence to group minds." He adds, "Could it be that, in some sense, the point of evolution... has been to create these social brains, and maybe even to weave them into a giant, loosely organized planetary brain? Kind of in the way that the point of the maturation of an organism is to create an adult organism?"
  • Eduardo Porter on Ringo Starr and The Beatles In honor of the 70th birthday of the Beatles' drummer today, the New York Times contributor puts into perspective the timelessness of the Beatles music, noting that even today's youth are still very much inclined to look to the Beatles as a standard for which music should be compared. He says, "It is somewhat odd that the musical tastes of today’s youth are still linked closely to a band that released its last album when the parents of today’s teenagers hadn’t even met and music still came on vinyl." Noting several generations of bands that have covered Beatles tracks, he says, "To me, their music does not sound any older than when 64 was a much longer way off. Maybe this is what we mean by timelessness. It’s turning 70 while remaining 24 at the same time."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.